It was a beautiful sunny day yesterday (March 4, 2017) as the Davao Digital Influencers together with WayPH organized an island hopping trip to kick the summer off the right note. The weather was just perfect – not too hot nor too cold – which made the trip even better. It was a fun and fulfilling day for all DDI members, as we enjoyed nature’s blessings and each other’s camaraderie.
Everything was prepared well by our host, Kaiser from WayPH. There’s delicious food in our boat, and hopping from one spot to the next was done so efficiently. The staff who were there for us are very friendly and accommodating. We were brought to the best spots around Talicud Island in Samal, and it was nothing short of amazing.
Talicud is just a boat ride away from Sta. Ana Port in Davao City. Depending on where you want to go at Talicud, traveling by boat may take 30 minutes to an hour.
It was definitely a treat for me to join the trip because I just work from home and I rarely go outside. Getting on this trip was a refreshing move out of my daily rut and hikikomori-like lifestyle (haha!). Thumbs up to Glen Santillan (President of DDI), Kaiser (WayPH) and the rest of the DDI Team.
The sky, weather, crystal clear waters, and the islands are always picture perfect on this side of Mindanao. Amidst the issues of terrorism and underdevelopment, there are still hidden gems around Mindanao which are so exquisite that you wouldn’t want to miss it.
Our first stop was Coral Garden where my fellow bloggers snorkeled around the area. The waters can get pretty deep and there would be times that you’ll get intimidated by the strong waves. But they provide life vests to keep you afloat while swimming. It’s also best to snorkel here when it’s not high tide. The boat operator offers snorkeling gear for rent (PHP 150 or around USD 3.00) that you can use for the entire day.
Our next stop was Isla Reta 2 where you would see clear turquoise waters that you don’t want to ever forget in memory. I was more confident in swimming on this area because there’s a shallow spot near the cove. The water was cool and refreshing that I wanted to swim there for as long as I can. There’s a little cave where you can take photoshoots or just simply relax. A lot of other tour boats were “parked” on the shore, which tells us that this spot is definitely popular.
Since our DDI bonding session was extended, we opted out of stopping by other areas. We did, however, passed by main tourist spots around Talicud. We passed by the famous Pearl Farm Beach Resort and other budget-friendly resorts. There are areas which have not been developed yet, and houses which make you wonder how’s island life like for the residents.
This is luxury: When your accommodations were designed by the Filipino National Artist for Architecture, Francisco Manosa (Pearl Farm Beach Resort)
Our last stop was Wishing Island, which is this picturesque slab sitting in the middle of the sea. You can pray at the top of this (really) small island, and perhaps, your wishes might come true. You never know…
ISLAND HOPPING TIPS
· Bring a first aid kit with you on your island hopping tour. You probably won’t need it, but just in case some of you might get sick or hurt, a first aid kit will get you covered.
· Bring a waterproof bag which will protect your gadgets. Some vendors are selling these waterproof cases/bags around Sta. Ana Port. Look for those guys who are bringing a lot of hats, sunglasses, and clear bags.
· The spots that you’ll visit are so Instagram-worthy that you’ll always want to have your camera gear at hand. Set your phone to automatically turn on its camera features, or perhaps invest in a GoPro.
· If you want to have a customized tour such as ours, check out WayPH which also offers reliable tours around Mindanao and other parts of the Philippines. The comfort room in our boat was clean and our lunch was cooked fresh from the boat’s tiny kitchen.
IN A NUTSHELL
There are so many good things to say about WayPH’s Island Hopping Tour. I formed a newfound love for my country and home island because of this. There are so many other beautiful places to visit around the country. I hope that the public and private sectors would push more projects to improve infrastructure, amenities and services for the tourism industry in the Philippines.